Fossil Ammonite (Sphenodiscus) & Gastropod Association - South Dakota
This is a cluster of ammonite (Sphenodiscus lenticularis) and gastropod fossils from the Fox Hills Formation of South Dakota. The ammonites and gastropods have been meticulously prepped to expose them from the hard concretion they were found in. One edge of the rock has been cut flat to facilitate aesthetic presentation without the need for a display stand.
Ammonites were predatory mollusks that resembled a squid with a shell. These cephalopods had eyes, tentacles, and spiral shells. They are more closely related to a living octopus, though the shells resemble that of a nautilus. True ammonites appeared in the fossil record about 240 million years ago. The last lineages disappeared 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous.
These 70 million year old ammonites lived when South Dakota was a shallow inland sea. It was found preserved in a concretion that was split open. It then had to be hand prepared to remove the hard rock surrounding it from the shell, a very time consuming task.